North Face Founder Dies in Kayaking Accident

Douglas Tompkins never stopped exploring
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2015 1:03 AM CST
Updated Dec 9, 2015 4:02 AM CST
North Face Founder Dies in Kayaking Accident
The Pumalin Park in the south of Chile, owned by US businessman Douglas Tompkins, is seen in this undated picture.    (AP Photo/Carlos Quezada/ La Tercera)

North Face founder Douglas Tompkins helped come up with the motto "Never Stop Exploring," and they were words he lived and died by. The 72-year-old died from hypothermia on Tuesday after his kayak capsized on General Carrera Lake in southern Chile, the BBC reports. Five other kayakers in the party survived after being rescued by the military. Tompkins, who also co-founded Esprit, founded the North Face as a small retailer selling outdoor goods in San Francisco in the 1960s, Reuters reports. He sold off his corporate interests in the 1990s to focus on environmentalism and bought huge tracts of land in Argentina and Chile to create protected areas.

"We are all deeply saddened at the news of Doug's passing. Doug was a passionate advocate for the environment, and his legacy of conservation will help ensure that there are outdoor spaces to be explored for generations to come," North Face said in a statement. Tompkins, whose legacy includes the 1,255-square-mile Pumalin Park in Chile, had been working on creating new protected areas in the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile. "He flew airplanes, he climbed to the top of mountains all over the world," daughter Summer Tompkins Walker tells the New York Times. "To have lost his life in a lake and have nature just sort of gobble him up is just shocking." (More Chile stories.)

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